Thursday, December 1, 2016

Spring Reading Group on Merleau-Ponty's The Visible and Invisible

To those current or former students who might be interested, we are switching topics to now read Maurice Merleau-Ponty's The Visible and the Invisible for the Spring 2017 semester.  The subtext of the course will be environmental aesthetics.

This actually works out better for me in terms of my projected research program for the rest of this year and also fits with more of the courses that I am teaching come spring as well (especially my Continental Philosophy and Environmental Philosophy classes).

For more information please feel free to get in touch.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Welcome to Sin News: Journalism for Digital Millenials Who Want the Truth (McSweenys)

If you don't get the joke watch anything recently put out by Vice News. The below will be that much more hilarious.

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Welcome to Sin News: Journalism for Digital Millenials Who Want the Truth
// McSweeney's

We're Sin News — a new kind of news organization. We're hip. We're now. We're aimed at young, digital native audiences who give a damn. We get it.

We take drugs. Lots of drugs. And then we report on the news. We smoked a bunch of blunts and then interviewed the Undersecretary of the Treasury for Domestic Finance. We got high on ketamine, hosted a roundtable discussion about Aleppo, and came up with few, if any, meaningful insights. We injected ourselves with heroin and reported on how it feels good to sit in the corner of the room for a while. Too much for you to handle? Then change the channel, square.

Yeah, you could say that our angle, is a little… off. We film everything a few degrees off-center; not enough for you to notice right away, but enough so after a few minutes, you'll say, "I think the camera is a little off-center." Also, we overexpose all of our shots, and the subject is rarely in focus. Don't like it? Then go back to your lame news anchor and desk. We shoot all of our news footage on old iPhones, and we always get the notification that says we're running out of storage.

We think that censorship is bad. Most networks wouldn't show you a video of a clown punching a baby. But we would. We've got dozens of those videos. If you want censored news, then you can get the hell out of here. Yeah, we said "hell!" No suit is going to tell us what to say. We're modern day Edward R. Murrow's. We also say other words too, like "dick" and "poop."

We go places that normal news outlets won't go. We'll skydive into a volcano. We'll backflip into a war zone. We'll go to a really dope club and just dance. We report the stories that other outlets are too afraid to report. We'll do a five-part investigative series on spooky goblins. We'll open up a bunch of caskets to see if there are any vampires in them. We're not afraid! Except for the last one. We're kind of afraid of Draculas.

We don't just have cameras, we talk into them. We take the traditional narrative construction of the proscenium — the fourth wall demarcating performance from audience — and burn it to the goddamn ground because we don't play by your rules. We say things like, "I can't believe this. This is so weird. It's also dangerous," because otherwise, how would you know how unbelievable, weird, and dangerous the situation we've gotten ourselves into is? Yeah, that's right — we spell things out for you. Without nuance. Booooom!

We're really into branded content — which is like advertising, but for people who are rad. We report on the stories that you care about, and that our marketing partners care about. Here's a story about the adverse effects of ICE's crackdown on refugees from Honduras… and also, we're all pounding Diet Sprites!

We don't wear suits when we report the news. We wear jeans. And hoodies. And T-shirts. Sometimes, the T-shirts have band names on them, but other times they don't have any band names on them. Sometimes we want to wear the T-shirts with the band names, but we can't because we didn't do the wash. Are we blowing your mind right now? How does laundry work?

We're raw. We're wild. We tell our viewers what we're thinking, as we think it. We think Snowden is a hero. We think that transphobia is wrong. We think that a bird just flew by. Or, maybe it was a very large bug. Either way, did you see it? It looked cool.

We don't have researchers. We don't have fact checkers. We've got an intern in a gimp suit who listens exclusively to Phantogram and Beach House. Every so often, we give him an article to copyedit, or a granola bar to make sure he doesn't die, but that's only because if we don't, we'll go to jail.

We don't just report the news, we fuck the news. We go out with the news, grab a few beers, take the news back to our place, ask for consent, and then have sex with the news. We do all sorts of different positions, and experiment with some things with the news that we were always interested in, and had seen on the internet, but never really had the courage to try.

We're Sin News. We love stories. We love the news. We also love vaping.


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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Mishima "The Rite of Love and Death" (1966) - short film

My new love affair with Yukio Mishima (1925-1970) has yielded discovery of the below. Sometimes referred to by other names, I believe "The Rite of Love and Death" is the best translation for his fantastic short film which I am posting here.  The Kanji in the background translates to "sincerity," "honor," and "fidelity."  This fits perfectly as we continue our discussion of tragedy in Philosophies of Art & Beauty. Over break I'll certainly be reading as much of Mishima that I can.

On a side note Mishima is arguably Japan's greatest author/playwright/literary figure of the 20th-century, much like Ernst Junger from Germany - whose work I have been admiring for years.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Has dogma derailed the scientific search for dark matter? (Aeon article)

Link below:

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Has dogma derailed the scientific search for dark matter?
// Aeon
According to mainstream researchers, the vast majority of the matter in the Universe is invisible: it consists of dark-matter particles that do not interact with radiation and cannot be seen through any telescope. The case for dark matter is regarded as so overwhelming that its existence is often...
By Pavel Kroupa
Read at Aeon

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The Meaning of Nature


Conference paper on the eco-philosopher and American naturalist and idealist, John William Miller (1895-1978), HERE.  Many ideas are similar to Merleau-Ponty, Alfred North Whitehead, and John Dewey, for those interested.  Truly a pioneer in "philosophical ecology" that is so popular today.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Truth versus Injury: The Wizard is No More

At this time it has now been about six years since a random snarky individual (who has since proven himself to be completely irrelevant in the world of philosophy let alone blogosphere) accused me on Twitter of "injuring" my students by including philosopher x rather than philosopher y in a specific seminar I was offering (philosopher y being a slimy, smug self-aggrandizing internet thug who tried to blackball any competition for his "spot," where actually he and his "philosophy" if one even stoops to call it that, too, has since turned out to be irrelevant in the days since the waves of his rhetorical flourish receded).

This crossed my mind as I was pre-ordering 35 copies of my forthcoming Speculative Realism book which is now *just* going out for copy-editing. I just had to laugh though. I'll take a photo of my class holding up their copies, all 35 of them.

It will be a landslide not of "injury," but of *truth.*

To close, the internet wizard can debate whomever he wants so as to to paint a pleasing or "hey look at me I am relevant because ..." picture of himself all that he wants. He is still irrelevant because no one anymore is looking at his picture. Period. No one cares about what he is doing, and you look quite stupid if you claim that you do.

A one trick pony, a house-of-cards philosophy, call it what you want - without cronies to throw your barbs your sad "philosophy" hangs back with the blog debates of the early teens of the 2000's. (And thank Gnon for that.) Or, perhaps in your own words, you are "just so 2009."

In short "we've" won (thanks mostly to Terry, Jason, Pete, but also others)...and you lose. Just look at who is relevant, and who *remains*

Time has surely told truth - even after six years.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Southern Illinois U Carbonale announces potential layoffs, program cuts

Article from back in March however only just recently discovered it. Some very shocking news. According to the article (link HERE):

Potential reductions at SIUC include:

- Elimination of more than 180 faculty, administrative professional and civil service staff positions
- Elimination of academic programs; reduction of more than 400 classes
- Elimination of more than 300 student employment positions, including on-campus jobs for undergraduates and assistantships for graduate students
- Merge four colleges into two colleges, eliminating two deans and associated office support.
- Reduced hours at Morris Library - the building will be closed up to 28 hours per week, including all day Saturday
- Reduction of funding for non-academic student programming support, including programs for underserved populations, retention initiatives, and counseling services.
- Elimination of men's and women's tennis
- Reduction of institutional funding for deferred maintenance in campus facilities
- Reduce state budget support for WSIU-TV (Broadcasting Service) by $200,000
- Eliminate $509, 505 state budget support for Touch of Nature
- Eliminate $189,000 state budget support for University Press.
- Eliminate $292,450 state budget support for University Museum
- Eliminate $148,300 state budget support for the Center for Dewey Studies.
- $887,498 reduction of research support
- Reduction of funding for 23 SIUC research centers and institutes, which operate in support of externally funded research grants.
- $528,662 reduction of information technology support and hardware

Friday, November 25, 2016

Extraterrestrial Intelligence and Dark Matter


Scientists explore the idea that dark matter may house a key to understanding advanced extraterrestrial intelligence.  Link HERE.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

"His Ferocious But Short-Lived Assault" Conference on the Work of Nick Land 2017

Call for Papers
"His Ferocious But Short-lived Assault" 
Interdisciplinary Conference Assessing the Legacy of Nick Land

2nd – 3rd June, 2017, University of Liverpool 

This conference is the first devoted to the impact of Nick Land’s writings. As controversial as influential, the (retired) author of A Thirst for Annihilation and Fanged Noumena, has influenced not only philosophy but a range of disciplines. In the short period between his emergence as the new rising star of British philosophy and his ‘burn-out’ less than a decade later, Land instigated lines of investigation that remain relatively unexplored.

Link HERE.

"Suffering and Evil in Nature" EN Conference 2017

Robert S. Corrington writes:

The theme for the 7th International Congress on Ecstatic Naturalism (April 7th and 8th, 2017 - at Drew University) will be: Suffering and Evil in Nature. We are very lucky to have the Korean Professors back with us this year, so the theme will be quite international.

Below is a description of the conference, as provided by Corrington:



"Suffering and Evil in Nature"
7th International Congress on Ecstatic Naturalism  
April 7th and 8th, Spring 2017 -Drew University, Madison New Jersey, United States

It is a vexing issue as to whether nature can be evil or not. While most would say "no" it is still a topic worth probing. Is evil a merely human trait or does it somehow come from the unconscious of nature; namely, from nature naturing? If we can talk of an ordinal psychoanalysis of nature, is the door then open for a robust discussion of evil beyond the human in the context of a non-theistic religious naturalism? The problem of suffering seems easier to deal with. Is there suffering in nature? Virtually everyone would answer "yes." But the issue of human and non-human suffering remains a complex one and, for some, involves a muted form of theodicy to "justify" suffering. Yet the facts of Darwinian evolution are stark and discouraging, given that extinction is one of the few certainties in evolution. But when we transition to the problem of human suffering, the issues multiply, especially for religious naturalism. The Congress will explore both issues from a variety of religious naturalistic perspectives, among them being ecstatic naturalism.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Agent Swarm on Pluralist Metaphysical Research



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PLURALIST METAPHYSICAL RESEARCH PROGRAMMES: Feyerabend, Deleuze, Laruelle, Zizek, Serres, Stiegler, Badiou, Latour
// AGENT SWARM

My long-term philosophical project is the critical analysis of the differing pluralist French Continental philosophies, those of Deleuze, Laruelle, Zizek, Serres, Stiegler, Badiou and Latour, as competing alternative metaphysical research programmes (in the sense proposed by Karl Popper).

I describe, analyse and evaluate these diverse metaphysical research programmes in terms of a loose partially overlapping set of criteria:

openness, pluralism, testability, realism, diachronicity, apophaticism, and democracy.

These criteria were originally derived from Paul Feyerabend's later philosophy (as outlined in the articles collected in CONQUEST OF ABUNDANCE). They give us useful descriptive and evaluative categories for dealing with contemporary French pluralism.

Feyerabend is often associated with a destructive criticism leading to an anarchism that flouts every rule and a relativism that treats all opinions as equal. This negative stereotype is based on ignorance and rumour rather than on any real engagement with his texts.

Feyerabend's work from beginning to end turns around problems of pluralism, ontology and realism, culminating in the outlines of a sophisticated form of pluralist realism. The still largely unknown ontological turn taken by Feyerabend's work in the last decade of his life was based on eight strands of argument: ontological difference and pluralism (ineffable Being as distinct from the multiple manifest realities), realism, testability, cosmological criticism, the historical approach, the quantum analogy (complementarity), and the primacy of democracy. See: Feyerabend's Cosmological Pluralism

My past advisors on this project were Alan Chalmers, Jean-Toussaint Desanti, and Jean-François Lyotard. I learned much from attending the seminars of Michel Serres, Gilles Deleuze, Michel Foucault and Kenneth White. More recently I have profited from exchanges with Charles Spinosa, Bernard Stiegler and Bruno Latour.

A useful first approach to my project: IS ONTOLOGY MAKING US STUPID? (2012):

IS ONTOLOGY MAKING US STUPID?

My most recent publication (2016), evaluating Bruno Latour's AN INQUIRY INTO MODES OF EXISTENCE from this perspective:

De-briefing Aime Project



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Sunday, November 13, 2016

Brassier’s Autopsy in Russian

Ht to Reza.

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Brassier's Autopsy in Russian
// Eliminative Culinarism

Sygma have just posted 'Спекулятивная аутопсия', Pavel Borisov's Russian translation of Ray Brassier's postscript to Object-Oriented Philosophy, 'Speculative Autopsy': link.

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